It Seemed Like A Good Idea at the Time

I said so myself…  I might have been wrong.

This idea of using the daily photo prompts to take pictures and write blog posts, seemed like a thing.  It really did.  Clearly, though, it was not a thing I could keep up with.  And I’m so bad at letting these things go and moving on from them that when the first time I didn’t get it done, I thought, “Well, shit.  But that’s ok.  I’ll just double up tomorrow.”  And of course, “tomorrow” came and went and no pictures were taken and no posts were written, and before I knew it, I had a backlog of pictures to take and post and I didn’t know how I was going to make that happen and suddenly, it’s been, what? two weeks since I wrote anything.

But really?  I mean, really!

Let’s take a look at the prompts I did not fulfill, shall we?

January 8th:  “Lucky Number”

Okay.  So I actually had (or rather have) a decent way to accommodate this.  I don’t really believe in “luck” per se, and as such, I don’t really have a lucky number.  I do have a favorite number, 23, which comes up in my life frequently and without reason, but I wouldn’t call it a lucky number and I couldn’t give you a discernible reason for its prominence if you asked.  On January 9th, K and I went back to the tattoo shop where I got my latest tattoo done.  She got a new tattoo, adding on to one she’s had for several years.  (In fact she got it at the same shop where, and within a few weeks when, I got my first one.)  We went together, and when he was finished with her new tattoo, he cleaned up, set up fresh equipment and did my touch up/repair/augmentation work that I alluded to.  As it happens, I incorporated the number 23 into the additional art and could have taken a picture of that for the photo prompt…  Except it didn’t happen until the day after the prompt and wasn’t really ready for photographing for many days after that.  In fact, the tattoo as a whole, still isn’t.  It’s been two weeks today and much to my surprise, and displeasure, it still isn’t healed.  The sun rays done in the colors of the pride flag, were touched up and extended farther onto my shoulder, which, can I just tell you, was not a pleasant experience!  For some reason, those blocks of solid color have taken a long time to heal.  They’re much better now, but there are still dry and scaly patches that are bothersome and difficult to resist the urge to pick and scratch – which is disaster for a tattoo.

It’s already evident that I will have to go back for at least one more touch-up, but that most likely won’t happen until May.  My swim class starts up again tonight, and while I don’t expect our instructor will actually have us get in the water tonight (he didn’t the first class last semester), I wouldn’t be able to anyway, because it’s not smart to get into a public pool, while a tattoo is still in this scaly stage.  I think I’ll be okay by Monday, but I don’t know for sure.  Fortunately, it’s the first night of instruction and it’s about getting comfortable being in the water and floating, ducking under the surface and kicking against the wall.  If I have to sit that out, it will not be a big loss.  Strangely, I am equal parts excited and trepidatious about class starting up again.  I really enjoyed the class last semester (and will again) but I also haven’t been in a pool since the last class I attended last semester.  I’m sure whatever endurance I’ve built up has been lost.  I just hope I haven’t taken too many steps backwards in terms of technique…

January 9th: “Natural”

The instruction was to take a picture of something natural or created naturally.  The possibilities for this are endless, and yet, with what was available to me, fairly boring.  The same goes for the follow-up prompt the next day…

January 10th: “Man-Made”

Take a photo of something made by man.  In a lot of ways, this would have been even easier, because everywhere you look you can see things that are made by man.  But that almost makes the prompt uninteresting, because I could easily have taken a picture of my television, or my furniture, or my computer, or…  Well, pretty much anything in my house that was not fresh produce.  And since I didn’t leave the house that day, the photo would have been something in my house.  It quickly becomes uninspiring.

But you see, this is an ongoing problem in the realm of photo challenge photo taking.  If I don’t leave the house, then the opportunities for the photos are greatly reduced.  If I do leave the house, do I really want to lug my camera around with me everywhere I go?  The answer to that is two-fold, because yes, I do want to take it with me everywhere I go.  And, NO!  I don’t want to have to carry it around and keep track of it and make sure it doesn’t come to any harm everyday, everywhere.  Anyway, while I’m unemployed and have limited reasons to leave the house, I spend days at a time inside my home and therefore have far fewer options for creative photos that meet the challenge and don’t become redundant.

January 11th: “Looking Down”

Once again, without leaving the house my options were limited to looking over the railing of the stairs leading up to my front door, which would be…  concrete sidewalk, or very poorly maintained grass in the side yard, or looking out a window.  Which wouldn’t really be “down” so much as “out”.  Of course, I could have taken one of those ubiquitous pictures of my feet, or of my shoes on my feet (which I don’t wear in the house), but that’s not particularly interesting in my mind.  Pass.

January 12th: “Something colorful”

I didn’t leave the house.  Like the song says, “Second verse.  Same as the first!”

January 13th: “Makes me Smile”

This one I actually could have done, with only the smallest bit of cheating.  I always figure that the point of the Photo-A-Day challenges, is to take a photo that day that goes with the prompt, however, I was actually with K when she took the photo she posted for “natural”, only it was “lucky number” day.  Maybe it’s the thought that counts?

Anyway, I took this picture of Lil’B a couple of weekends prior while we were on an outing to the Hyde Street Pier and exploring some of the ships that are moored there.  Lil’B always makes me smile.  So if you don’t worry about the fact that I already posted this picture once, or about meeting the date, then it’s all good.  🙂

Taking a picture of Lil'B, taking a picture of me.
Taking a picture of Lil’B, taking a picture of me.

January 14th: “Three Things” 

This one might actually have been pretty interesting.  The instruction was to take a picture of three things.  “They might belong together, or they might be totally random”.  But of course, by this time, I was a week behind on this endeavor, and in my mind, I couldn’t have participated in this one without having done all the ones that came before.  This leads to my new challenge for myself to be further discussed at the end of this post.

January 15th: “Black and White”

This prompt is much like the “upside down” prompt in that, with modern technology, any picture can be black and white with just the press of a few buttons.  I could have made a picture black and white using settings on my camera, or using iPhoto to edit it that way.  There’s no real challenge in that, and once again, I only left the house to work.  Irony being what it is, I could have taken a “selfie” at work and posted that, since my uniform for most bar tending jobs is a white shirt with black pants, tie and vest.  But again, I didn’t want to bring my camera along to work.

January 16th: “Sun”

The instruction was to take a picture of the sun.  Of course this was totally doable, even without having left the house.  But again.  I was too far behind.

January 17th: “Tiny”

Does this really need any explanation?

January 18th: “Happy Place”

I wouldn’t even know where to start with this one.  (Plus I worked again, that day.)

January 19th: “Breakfast”

“Take a photo of your breakfast, or where you were for breakfast time.”  This was a Lil’B Sunday.  I picked him up earlier than usual so we could go to the Oakland, Zoo.  I slept through breakfast, and well?  Really?  Does anyone really want a photograph of my bed?  I don’t think so.  I took lots of pictures at the zoo, though I haven’t yet had time to edit them.  But those photographs had nothing to do with the prompt.

January 20th: “To Do List”

I suppose there might be something interesting in this.  The instruction was to take a picture of the actual list, or a series of pictures of things I did.  At the moment, my to do list, is only in my head, and it’s so long that it’s actually debilitating and nothing gets done.  Something I absolutely must work on.  But anyway, this photo prompt wasn’t doable either for many reasons.

January 21st:  “Blue”

Sometimes they’re just too easy, which I guess I shouldn’t complain about.  While I am not consciously aware of having a favorite color, or a strong preference toward any one color, until recently, a quick glance at my closet would have told you that blue is unequivocally my favorite color.  Finding a blue thing to take a picture of would not have been difficult.  Then of course, there’s always this:

Me and my new car, taken outside the dealership, Half Moon Bay, CA
Me and my new car, taken outside the dealership, Half Moon Bay, CA

Heck, even the blue Honda over my left shoulder was mine.  That’s the car I traded in for the Mustang.  (Don’t talk to me about the monumental difference in gas mileage.  I will cut you!)

And that leads us to today, January 22nd: “Nice!”.  The instruction just says, “take a picture of something nice”, which, again, could be anything.  Hell, I could even just direct you to scroll up an inch or so.  There’s something pretty nice!  Maybe I’ll take some additional pictures today, maybe I won’t.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

Anyway, my new challenge for my self, as alluded to with January 14th: “Three Things” is to not get so caught up in the idea that I have to post one thing before I can post something else.  Especially when that one thing is something that I am avoiding doing for whatever reason.  Maybe that thing will get posted, maybe it won’t.  But I shouldn’t let that thing prevent me from posting other things.  I have, in the past, had a problem with holding back on those thoughts because I hadn’t posted the other thing yet, and then I end up losing lots of ideas that I wanted to convey.  Probably this won’t lead to anything earth shattering, but at least it should help me keep my writing muscle exercised…  Lord knows it’s the only one that’s getting any exercise.


Starts With G

Have I already bitten off more than I can chew?  Hmmm.  I wonder.

The Fat Mum Slim Photo-A-Day prompt for January 2nd is “Starts with G” which seems simple enough.  Who can’t find plenty of things that start with the letter G?  Only, I ended up with eight photos, all of things from around the house.  I actually took more than eight, but after I downloaded them and did some basic editing in iPhoto, I realized some of them were no good so I deleted them.  Actually several of the ones I deleted were duplicates of the ones I saved (’cause you always take multiple pictures in order to get the good one, right?  Right.)

Anyway, after staying up most of the night last night, and accidentally sleeping all day today, followed by going out for dinner with a friend and not getting home until around 9:00, I didn’t have a lot of time for taking pictures.  Here’s what I came up with:

First up is my swim goggles.  I wore these goggles twice a week, nearly every week from August to December as I took the “Fundamentals of Swimming” class at the local Community College.  I nearly drowned twice before I was six years old, once in the Pacific Ocean when a large wave crashed ashore, knocked me over and then began to drag me back out to sea as it receded and again at my father’s apartment complex when I fell into the deep end of the swimming pool.  On both occasions my father immediately pulled me to safety, but the experiences traumatized me enough that for a long time I was afraid of the water altogether, and once I got over that, I was not willing to get into any water where I could not see the bottom and could not stand up.  I finally decided it was time to conquer my fears and to learn a means of exercise that I would actually enjoy doing.  After one semester of swim classes, I can safely say “I know how to swim”, but I’m not very good at it and I still haven’t gotten into water in which I can’t stand up.  The next session starts up on January 22nd and I hope to make vast improvements during this next class.

Anyway, after each class, I would bring my bag home from the pool and unpack my gear, take my goggles into the bathroom to rinse them off and hang them from my bed post to air dry and be ready for the next class.  They have been hanging from that post since early December because I haven’t been in a pool since the class ended.  Along with the new piercing I vaguely (or not so vaguely) eluded to the other day, I also have a new tattoo I’ll share about sometime later.  Both instances of “body modification” needed to be mostly healed before going into a public swimming pool, essentially exposing “open wounds” to the potential soup of other peoples’ bacteria we’d all prefer not to think about when we go for a swim.

Swim goggles hanging from bedpost.
Swim goggles hanging from bedpost.

The next two pictures go hand in hand.  One is my glasses.  I made a very unspecific reference to these when posting something completely unrelated several weeks back, but as of mid-October, I am officially a full-time glasses wearer.  I picked these glasses while my eyes were still dilated which is certainly a risky proposition.  I had some assistance from one of the opticians in the vision center, but I wasn’t completely sure what I’d be getting when I went back a week later to pick them up.  I must have done a fairly good job, because when I arrived at work later that day, no one seemed to even notice that anything was different, as if I’d had the glasses all along.

My first ever full-time wear glasses.
My first ever full-time wear glasses.

The other picture is of a mirror that hangs behind my front door.  The mirror has hooks along the bottom from which I have always hung my sunglasses.  I have multiple pairs so that I could always match the color and style to the clothes I was wearing that day.  The sunglasses have been rendered somewhat obsolete by the introduction of the glasses in the picture above and a pair of prescription sunglasses.

Mirror with sunglasses on hooks.
Mirror with sunglasses on hooks.

Some of the other pictures I took are pretty self explanatory.  A few G words around my kitchen:

Gas flame from my stove.

Gas Flame
Gas Flame

Double Gs:  Green glass sweet and dry vermouth bottles in my bar.  And a bonus G:  The green label on the back of the Apple Puckers bottle you can just see on the bottom right side.  

Green Glass Vermouth Bottles.
Green Glass Vermouth Bottles.

And a green Starbuck’s label on the front of a plastic reusable cold drink tumbler with a green, plastic, reusable straw.  Heck it’s even “green” in the environmental sense.  Boom!  Triple Gs!

Green Starbucks Label
Green Starbucks Label

In my bathroom, there is grout between the 12 x 12 marble tiles that make up my floor and shower surround.

Grout between tiles.

And finally, still starting with G, the kind of “green” we all know and love, money.  As a Bartender, I come into possession of many small bills so this is not a terribly large some of money, it’s just the money I had left in my pocket when I came home tonight.

Green Money.
Green Money.
“You don’t want to know what I have to do for $20s.”


It’s just come to my attention, that while I’ve talked about my tattoos in the past and that people have asked me about them before, I’ve never actually posted pictures of them (except for the panther, as relates to my roadrash from May.)

So with that in mind, and given that I’ve not thought of anything else particularly interesting, I give you the not terribly interesting story of my tattoos:

Several years ago now, my friend Michelle and I were at Six Flags Marine World (it’s now known as Discovery Kingdom) for an o’dark thirty live broadcast of my favorite morning radio show in celebration of the fourth of July.  Up to this point I had alway held on to my steadfast belief indoctrination that tattoos were evil and only heathens and ingrates have them.  I never had any use for them, and I didn’t see the point in getting temporary ones that represent the same evilness that permanent tattoos represent, and that are just going to wash off anyway.  Michelle on the other hand, had gotten temporary tattoos a few times, just for fun.

I don’t know what changed this time around but when we walked past the airbrushed tattoo cart in the park, I looked at the offerings with Michelle, rather than standing back and giving her a condescending stare.

After a minute, I decided to go for it and got a fairly generic  black panther tattoo painted on the back of my left calf.  When it was over and we walked away, Michelle looked at it and said, “That’s cool.  It would be cool if it were real.”  I laughed at her and scoffed at the idea.

But I looked at it several times while it was still in tact and the more I looked at it the more I liked it and didn’t want it to fade away.  I started looking at designs wondering if I could ever really do that to myself, thinking this was never really going to go anywhere.  But the more I thought about it the more I wanted to do it and the more I could imagine it being real.  A friend of Michelle’s told her of a place in Vallejo, California where she had gone and gotten a tattoo.  Her tattoo was, apparently, very good and wasn’t terribly expensive.  Two important factors in my mind.

We checked the place out and at first I was a little put off.  It’s a rundown shop with every wall covered with tattoo “splash sheets” (go figure, what did I expect to find?)  There were some really raunchy, horrible tattoos on the walls, but I realized that’s to be expected and I just looked the other way.  After a couple of visits and conversations with the owner, I decided to bite the bullet.  He set me up with a young, but talented artist he said was his best guy.  One Saturday afternoon five years ago, I went to the shop, nervous as heck and shaking a bit, but determined to see it through, and I left with this on the outside of my left calf:

I have to admit that it was an incredible experience.  It wasn’t nearly as painful as I imagined it would be.  Don’t get me wrong, it hurts, but it’s not like you expect and when it’s over, like so many things, you don’t really remember the pain so much, and you’ve got something to show for it.

I also found the experience to be strangely erotic.  If I was honest, and I usually am, I became quite aroused during the process.  I was totally hooked.

K told me that people would ask me, “what’s the significance?” and I needed to have an answer.  She turned out to be right.  At my Grandfather’s 90th Surprise Birthday party a few weeks later, my cousin asked me what it meant and I told her it didn’t really mean anything, I just liked it and wanted to get it.  She said, “Panther’s can be like, a sign of power.  Just tell people that.”

So, um…  It’s a sign of power…  Yeah, that’s it.  A sign of power.  Go with that.

As I said, I was hooked, and about 18 months later, I went back to the same shop, to the same artist with an idea.  It was Saturday afternoon.  He asked me when I was thinking of getting it and when I told him I wasn’t sure, he told me that Friday was his last day because he was moving away.  In retrospect, I might have waited if I’d thought about it.  When it healed it needed to be touched up and he wasn’t around to do it, but I liked his work and I wanted the ink so that Friday after work, I went back and I left with this on the inside of my right arm, just below the bend in my elbow:

Recently, my doctor asked me to do a fasting blood test and as the phlebotomist was sitting there taking my blood she studied the tattoo.  To be fair to her, she was sitting to my right and I was facing to the side.  She saw my tattoo from the left side of this picture.  She complimented me on the tattoo, said the colors were pretty and then said, “It’s a turkey?”  Um….

A good two years past before I got another.  I was jonesing for a long time and even after I knew what I was going to get I didn’t know where to go.  Permanent ink on your body is not something you want to let just anybody do.  You want someone who does good work and it’s usually good to have the recommendation of someone who’s already been.

Finally, I found a place not far from my office with a guy who had done some good work for someone I knew.  I bit the bullet again and went in.

This time, Michelle’s sister Monique wanted to come and watch.  She claims she wants a tattoo, but she’s scared.  She thinks the pain is going to be unbearable.  I told her to come along so she could watch the process and see how I do.  I sat calmly under the needle and waited while he applied the ink.  I winced a couple of times, but not because the application hurt so much.  It did hurt, but not terribly.  The guy who did my third (but not final) tattoo was clearly hard of hearing, from head banging or spending so much time with a tattoo gun in his hand, I do not know.  He tended to shout and more than a few times his loud voice, mere inches from my ear, hurt my ears far more than the needles hurt my skin.

He was kind enough to touch up the black parts of the second tattoo while he was working on me and when the session was over, I had this on the back of my neck:

No comments about my shaved Ogre-head!

And for those of you conservative, or mom-ly types, rest assured, the placement of this tattoo is such that when I wear a collared shirt you can barely see it.  When I wear a collared shirt with a tie you can’t see it at all.

Now the problem is, it’s been two and a half years since I got that tattoo and I’m jonesing for another one.  But I have no idea what I want.  I want something with lots of vibrant color in it, but that’s about as much as I’ve figured out.  So that’s where we stand; itchin’ and clueless.  But I’ll think of something…

I’m thinking in terms of getting something to commemorate losing 100 lbs or hitting a weight/physique I’m happy with.  I’m also thinking of getting something to represent my new life once I’ve finished school and change careers, but since I’m not sure what that’s going to entail or when it’s going to happen, I have not yet decided what I would get.

Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments below!